Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Friday drinks with Church Road and Syrah

A century and a quarter is a long time for New Zealand’s young wine industry and that’s what the winemakers, media and many others in the wine industry, including yours truly, are celebrating tonight at Church Road winery in Hawke’s Bay. 

The winery makes one of this country’s most popular Chardonnays and smaller volumes of big bold fuller bodied wines, such as the iconic Tom. This range began with a Merlot dominant, Bordeaux inspired blend and now also includes a Syrah and a Chardonnay. 

Winemaker Chris Scott has been at the helm of winemaking for a significant portion of his career, prior to which the equally talented Tony Prichard. The most famous winemaker associated with Church Road Wines is, however, the late Tom McDonald, whose paved a path for Bordeaux inspired reds, highlighting the potential for New Zealand to produce table wines rather than fortified not-very-good quality lookalikes. 

Wine of the week

2018 Church Road Grand Reserve Syrah RRP $39.99

Here’s a wine with power on every front from its deep purple hue to its peppery aromas, warm gentle baking spice flavours and big smooth tannins which intermingle nicely with suggestions of ripe plums and blackberries. Decant and serve in a large glass now, stem or no stem, or save it for another four to five years.